Before I get to my final draft thoughts, Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dolphins and OLB Cameron Wake have agreed on a 4 year deal worth 49 million dollars with 20 million guaranteed. This is very good news for the Dolphins, and now they can move on to their cornerstone OLT, All-Pro Jake Long.
We are now a week removed from the NFL Draft and it is still being discussed and diagnosed by so called experts and fans alike. It is what we do even though you will not know how the draft classes will really pan out until a couple of years, but it fun to speculate on how good or bad draft classes are.
For the record, I think Miami had a very solid draft and addressed their needs as well as taking their possible franchise quarterback in Ryan Tannehill of Texas A & M. In this media driven world that we live in, his gorgous wife got almost as much attention as Ryan did. The Dolphins addressed the troublesome ORT position with Jonathan Martin of Stanford, a kid projected to go in the top 20 of the draft, but slide to Miami with the 42nd pick in the 2nd round. The Dolphins addressed the need for pass rusher with an emerging talent in DE Olivier Vernon of Miami and OLB Josh Kaddu of Oregon. I see Kaddu as a early special teams contributor and a 3rd down rush specialist in specific packages. Kid has a motor that runs hot and he has very good speed and can run with tight ends. Just needs to put on some additional weight, but I like what I see from Kaddu. This is a comment from Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Vernon.
"The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn suggests Dolphins third-round pick Olivier Vernon might turn out to be the best value pick in the draft.
It should be noted that McGinn is the most plugged-in draftnik in the nation. McGinn describes Vernon as a "tough guy, physical, explosive" and believes he should have been a second-round pick. Vernon's career path was headed for stardom as a sophomore before the Nevin Shapiro fiasco ruined his final college season. He will be a down defensive end in Kevin Coyle's 4-3 scheme."
RB was not a need for Miami, but when a talent like Lamar Miller from Miami was still on the board in the 4th round, you take him. He gives you an instant impact on kickoff returns and if he can be more consistent as a blocking back on passing downs, I can see this young man on the field along with Reggie Bush causing havoc. He is a homerun threat everytime he touches the ball and gives the Dolphins tremendous versatility and depth.
Some felt like Miami would not add a TE with the move of Charles Clay back to the TE position, but the Dolphins decided to add a big, fast TE that can stretch the field and casue mismatch problems in Michael Egnew of Missouri with their 2nd 3rd round pick. A converted WR, the 6'5 Egnew can line in the slot and out wide. While not a very good blocking tight end to say the least, that was not his role at Missouri nor will it be his role with the Dolphins.
Many Dolphins fans and pundits thought the Dolphins should have taken a wide receiver early in the draft, but wide receiver was one of the deepest positions in the 2012 NFL Draft. Miami took B.J Cunningham of Michigan State in the 6th round and then took Rishard Matthews of Nevada in the 7th round. Two big, physical and highly productive college wide receivers that will work well in the West Coast offense that the Dolphins will be installing. Neither kid is a burner, but we have seen time and time again that you don't have to be a 4.3 40 guy to make plays.
To replace the departed DT/DE Kendall Langford, who signed as a free agent with St. Louis, the Dolphins draft Kheeston Randall, DE/DT from Texas. Physical, durable, hard working and solid, he is very good against the run, but will not provide much in regards to pass rush right now. That could change with more work and development of technique from a quality DL coach like Kacy Rogers, but right now, he looks like a possible clone of Langford, which is not a bad thing at all.
The Dolphins came away from the 2011 NFL Draft with contibutors in Mike Pouncey, Charles Clay, Daniel Thomas, Jimmy Wilson. Edmond Gates was used as a kickoff returner in 2011, but he will be expected to take a quantum step in 2012 and become a factor in the passing game. The hope is that this Dolphin draft yield similar contributors, if not more.
A couple of names to keep an eye on in regards to the undrafted free agents that the Dolphins signed are WR Jeff Fuller of Texas A & M, DE Jacquies Smith of Missouri and SS Kelcie McCray of Arkansas State.
I think every kid from this draft has a chance to make the team and will make the team, but time will tell. Here hoping this draft is a productive one for the Dolphins.